Cloaking is known as an SEO technique which provides the information presented by search engine spider varies from what is present on the user’s browser. Cloaking in SEO is often done to have a better ranking for their search engines, and this is done when a client is known to be one of the search engine spiders. The scripting language brings various versions of the website page which might not be visible or it might be visible, but a user is not able to search that particular content.
Cloaking is commonly used as web spam technique in which a user is tricked towards visiting a faulty website which might not match the description of the search engine. This might include pornographic content or non-pornographic content which is not matching the search engine results. Cloaking is also considered to be a type of gateway pages technique in which the user is automatically redirected to a different particular website without their own knowledge, and some form of cloaking is involved in this act.
Cloaking often misleads search engines so that it may display pages that may not be displayed otherwise according to the search engine description.
Why Is Cloaking Bad?
According to Google, cloaking is a website which delivers reconstructed webpage’s to the users by crawling into the site. Mostly the searching engines will remove immediately or blacklist any website which might be involved in cloaking because it is done to completely make misuse of search engines so that they can have a particular ranking in that search engine. Search engines have been specially designed to accommodate users and give them relevant results according to their needs. But if a customer sees a different page from the searching engine but then it is not properly functioned, and it’s not delivering the required results which make it one of the sole reasons that a cloaking site is bad and one should never use it as means of just gaining mere popularity. This practice completely disturbs the main principle of Web search engines. Google and other high ranked search engines like Yahoo, Bing, etc. easily identify cloaking websites that are immediately removed. So the idea of gaining popularity on a particular search engine is destroyed as soon as it begins so if Google asks you not to do something then you shouldn’t if you want your content to appear regularly in Google’s search engine.
Personalization and Cloaking
One of the newest and advanced features of different websites is that they can show the special content which depending upon diverse features determined by the customers themselves. Some websites utilize a modern technique known as ‘Geo-IP’ which can track a customer’s location using the IP address and through this, they are logged into with and present weather information and display different ad’s according to the piece of the country that they live in.
Some people believe that this is also a form of cloaking since it is displaying content which is not relevant or similar to the search engine results but in this case, the customer and search engine but both can see the similar content that is being displayed, and it is only personalized according to system profile.
Common Forms of Cloaking
- Invisible Or Hidden Text
By utilizing this, the webmasters can things overwrote contents into different websites without the knowledge of the users. Similar to, if a particular text has been there in white with a white surface color, then the user is not able to detect such a threat. Although search engines can easily crawl into the site and detect the hidden text.
- Flash Based Websites
Flash is a common cloaking technology owned by Adobe, and it is considered as an unsuitable technique to show the content as far as search engine optimization is concerned. It is mostly used in order to display contents like images and slideshows in the websites but what most people don’t know is that the search engines can not read the text inside a flash website.
- Email Cloaking
- Image Gallery Website
The web crawlers are unable to detect images, so sometimes websites use many photographs than actual texts so that they may be able to get a top placement to use cloaking for relevant keywords. It is also known as image replacement which is defined as serving an image through CSS styling. The image is usually in the background and search engines are not able to see it.
Acceptable Cloaking Practices
Cloaking is considered to be a bad act according to search engines like Google, but there are also many cloaking practices which are acceptable although they present and display content which is not in accordance to search engine results and users.
Geo-IP is one of the acceptable cloaking techniques which are inconsiderable as cloaking because it is providing users with a good experience. It basically detects your geo-location and provides you with results according to your location.
URL rewriting is also another acceptable cloaking technique which refers to removing unnecessary content from URL’s and not changing the underlying content.
At the end of the article, it concluded that the cloaking is still considered as a trick for search engines, and it should not be done.